THE NEIGHBORS
by Theodosia Garrison 

     At first cock-crow
     The ghosts must go
     Back to their quiet graves below.

Against the distant striking of the clock
I heard the crowing cock,
     And I arose and threw the window wide;
          Long, long before the setting of the moon,
          And yet I knew they must be passing soon—
     My neighbors who had died—
Back to their narrow green-roofed homes that wait
Beyond the churchyard gate.

I leaned far out and waited—all the world
Was like a thing impearled,
     Mysterious and beautiful and still:
          The crooked road seemed one the moon might lay,
          Our little village slept in Quaker gray,
     And gray and tall the poplars on the hill;
And then far off I heard the cock—and then
My neighbors passed again.

At first it seemed a white cloud, nothing more,
Slow drifting by my door,
     Or gardened lilies swaying in the wind;
          Then suddenly each separate face I knew,
          The tender lovers drifting two and two,
     Old, peaceful folk long since passed out of mind,
And little children—one whose hand held still
An earth-grown daffodil.

And here I saw one pausing for a space
To lift a wistful face
     Up to a certain window where there dreamed
          A little brood left motherless; and there
          One turned to where the unploughed fields lay bare;
     And others lingering passed—but one there seemed
So over glad to haste, she scarce could wait
To reach the churchyard gate!

The farrier's little maid who loved too well
And died—I may not tell
      How glad she seemed. My neighbors, young and old,
           With backward glances lingered as they went;
           Only upon one face was all content,
      A sorrow comforted—a peace untold.
I watched them through the swinging gate—the dawn
Stayed till the last had gone.

1 comment:

The Frog Queen said...

Hautningly beautiful.

Cheers!